Petroleum Reservoir Geoscience MSc

  • Programme duration: Full-time: 12 months  
  • Programme start: September 2019
  • Entry requirements: You will need a 2:1 Honours degree in Geology, Geophysics or any related Geoscience discipline and previous relevant industry experience is very welcome.
Petroleum Reservoir Geoscience msc

Module details

Introduction to Petroleum Geoscience (ENVS600)

Level M
Credit level: 15

This module will be taught over two semesters with the classroom and initial field training in semester 1 and the week-long residential field class in semester 2. The module is wholly assessed with course work including assessment of field work in semester 2 (exam-coursework weighting 0:100).

The aims of this module are to:

  • Provide an introduction to the basin-scale geological context of petroleum reservoir geosciences.
  • Ensure students are equipped with sufficient field skills to undertake the subsequent 2-week field course after semester 2.
  • Ensure students have an awareness of the importance and practice of risk and uncertainty analysis during petroleum reservoir studies.
  • Provide students with the training in field studies studying reservoir rocks for three full days in the NW of England and North Wales (Thurstaston, Heysham and Llangollen) in semester 1 using a wide range of techniques.
  • Provide students with the direct experience of studying reservoir rocks in the Wessex Basin in semester 2 using a wide range of techniques.
  • Provide practical experience in the field of analysis and application of field-derived (and literature-derived) information on source rocks, maturation, migration, reservoir rocks, trap structures and cap rocks using industry-standard software such as such as BasinMod and PetroMod.

At the end of this module you should have:

  • A critical appreciation of the six main controls on a successful petroleum system.
  • Knowledge and critical understanding of the basin-scale sedimentology and tectonic evolution of the Wessex Basin and other global basins.
  • The ability to evaluate the key risks and sources of uncertainty in petroleum basin analysis and reservoir studies.
  • A basic knowledge of the economics of petroleum exploration and production.
  • Direct experience of a range of rocks at outcrop that are reservoirs in the subsurface and relating direct observation to typical subsurface data.
  • The ability to create a simple burial and thermal history of a basin and relate this to the generation of oil and gas in source rocks using kinetic models.
  • Experience of basin modelling software such as BasinMod and PetroMod.

Quantitative Seismic Interpretation of Reservoirs (ENVS601)

Level M
Credit level: 15

This module will be taught in semester 1. The module is assessed with course work and an exam (exam-coursework weighting 60:40).

The aims of this module are to:

  • Provide an overview of reflection seismic processing techniques as applied in the hydrocarbon industry, with focus on underlying concepts and their limitations, appreciating uncertainties and estimating physical rock properties of the reservoir.
  • Provide an understanding of the underlying assumptions and the need to preserve amplitude information in the processing sequence as well as extracting shear wave velocities.
  • Provide, with case studies, an introduction to the characterisation of reservoirs with seismic data.

At the end of this module you should be able to:

  • Apply signal processing techniques to problems in reflection seismology.
  • Evaluate the uncertainties in processing seismic sections with emphasis on the preservation of ‘true’ amplitudes in the recorded signals.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of rock physical models and their use in hydrocarbon systems.
  • Identify the observations and measurements needed for seismic reservoir analysis.
  • Develop an appreciation of uncertainty and statistical approaches to estimating lithology and fluid/gas content in reservoirs from seismic data.
  • Carry out a seismic processing sequence using industry standard software packages (e.g. CLARITAS).

Structural Geology and Geomechanics of Reservoirs (ENVS602)

Level M
Credit level: 15

This module will be taught in semester 1. The module is assessed with course work and exams (exam-coursework weighting 70:30).

The aims of this module are to:

  • Provide an overview of fault systems and their role in the formation and behaviour of petroleum reservoirs.
  • Provide an understanding of the mechanical and physical properties of the rocks within petroleum reservoir systems and how they evolve on both geological and production timescales.
  • Provide an introduction to fractured reservoirs and their problems, using case studies.
  • Illustrate some of the key concepts of the geomechanics and structure of reservoirs on one full day, non-residential field visit in the NW of England (Helsby).

At the end of this module you should have:

  • An understanding of the geometry, properties and role of fault systems in petroleum reservoir systems.
  • An appreciation of the various trap types encountered in petroleum systems.
  • An understanding of the roles of elasticity, fracture and ductile deformation and the mechanical behaviour of reservoir rocks.
  • An appreciation of how rocks within petroleum reservoir systems deform under changing stress conditions and how these changes affect fluid flow.
  • An understanding of how the physical properties of reservoir units change spatially and temporally during production timescales.
  • Experience of structural geology at outcrop.

Reservoir Petrophysics (ENVS603)

Level M
Credit level: 15

This module will be taught in semester 1. The module is wholly assessed with course work, including group exercises, writing wiki pages and writing formal reports (exam-coursework weighting 0:100).

The aims of this module are to:

  • Provide knowledge about drilling wells and the borehole environment.
  • Equip students with a theoretical knowledge of wireline log analysis of boreholes from conventional and logging-while-drilling (LWD) logging runs.
  • Equip students with a knowledge of other downhole techniques such as fluid sampling, pressure measurement and sidewall coring.
  • Provide the practical skills needed to qualitatively and quantitatively interpret porosity, lithology (rock type) and fluid saturation from a variety of reservoir rock types using wireline logs.
  • Provide a knowledge of the full range of core analysis methods and how these relate to wireline log interpretation.
  • Provide knowledge of how to critically synthesise wireline and core analysis data in terms of the prediction of reservoir presence and reservoir quality.
  • Give students experience in using industry standard software such as Techlog.
  • Provide practical skills in upscaling well data and core data in order to define the average characteristics of flow cells to be used in building static and dynamic reservoir models.

At the end of this module you should have:

  • A critical appreciation of how each downhole logging tool works, what it reveals and what rock properties control the signal collected by the tools.
  • Learning how to evaluate each log type in terms of rock properties such as porosity, fluid saturation, elastic properties, lithology, mineralogy, and permeability.
  • Learning the theory and practice of bringing data from each log type into an integrated synthesis.
  • A critical appreciation of the full range of downhole fluid pressure and fluid mobility assessment techniques.
  • A critical appreciation of the full range of core analysis techniques and what geological processes control porosity and permeability in reservoirs.
  • Skills in using industry standard software such as Techlog.

Sandstone Petroleum Reservoirs (ENVS604)

Level M
Credit level: 15

This module will be taught over in semester 2. The module is wholly assessed with course work (exam-coursework weighting 0:100).

The aims of this module are to:

  • Equip students with appropriate background of clastic sedimentary systems as applied to the petroleum industry.
  • Train students in the methods of sedimentological data collection from core and surface exposure, with emphasis placed on the key information required by the petroleum industry and why this information is necessary.
  • Train students how core data is used by the petroleum industry and how it is linked to petrophysical and other wireline datasets.
  • Make students aware of the spatial limitation of borehole datasets, highlighting the need for spatial sedimentary datasets from field scale outcrop analogues to increase value of information.
  • Train students in uses of deterministic and stochastic reservoir models and how the datasets encountered by the students are put to practical use when building reservoir models and determining petroleum volumes.
  • Give students an appreciation of team work when assessing reservoir quality of a reservoir unit (Brent Group in the Thistle Field, UK North Sea) and placing accrued information in context with current knowledge and future petroleum exploitation.
  • Give students experience in building sandstone reservoir models using industry standard software, such as Petrel.

At the end of this module you should have:

  • Ability to apply principal methods and concepts regularly used by oil companies to assess clastic reservoir.
  • Ability to carefully collect and interpret sedimentary data (from core and outcrop) of specific interest to the petroleum industry and apply this to qualitative and quantitative reservoir assessment.
  • Ability to combine stratigraphic information with borehole datasets to provide a better understanding of the subsurface reservoir.
  • Understanding how diagenesis affects clastic sedimentary reservoirs.
  • Ability to interpret sedimentary environments from core, outcrop and wireline data.
  • Ability to interpret stratigraphic sequences in a ‘relative sea level’ framework.
  • Ability to analyse petroleum reservoir datasets (wireline, core, seismic) and build basic static reservoir models using industry-standard software such as PETREL.
  • Ability to make a reservoir quality assessment (porosity, mineral phases, diagenetic phases) of petrographic thin section.

Carbonate Petroleum Reservoirs (ENVS605)

Level M
Credit level: 15

This module will be taught in semester 2. The module is assessed with course work and an exam (exam-coursework weighting 40:60).

The aims of this module are to:

  • Produce graduates with knowledge of the main depositional and diagenetic controls on reservoir properties in carbonate rocks.
  • Produce graduates with practical skills for carbonate reservoir exploration, appraisal and management used in the oil industry.
  • Equip students with appropriate background knowledge of carbonate sedimentary systems and carbonate diagenesis.
  • Train students in the methods of sedimentological data collection from core and surface exposure, with emphasis placed on the key information required by the petroleum industry and why this information is necessary.
  • Train students how core data are used by the petroleum industry and how core data are linked to petrophysical and wireline datasets.

At the end of this module you should have:

  • Ability to apply principal methods and concepts regularly used by oil companies to assess carbonate reservoirs.
  • The ability to analyse petroleum reservoir datasets (wireline, core, seismic).
  • Ability to collect and interpret sedimentary data (from seismic, core and outcrop) of specific interest to the petroleum industry.
  • Ability to apply seismic, core and outcrop data to qualitative and quantitative reservoir assessment.
  • Ability to combine stratigraphic information with borehole datasets to provide a better understanding of a subsurface reservoir.
  • Knowledge of how diagenesis affects carbonate sedimentary reservoir and the ability to make a reservoir quality assessment using thin section and analytical data.
  • Practical skills in rock description and analysis including core description, thin section analysis and the use of images and analytical data (cathodoluminescence, isotopic data, use of electron microscopy) and interpretation of wireline log and core analysis data from carbonates.

Petroleum Reservoir Analogue Field Course (ENVS607)

Level M
Credit level: 15

This module will be taught in semester 2, after the mid-May exam period. The module is wholly assessed with course work, with all assessment performed during the field class (exam-coursework weighting 0:100).

The aims of this two week residential field class are to:

  • Give students direct experience of outcrop analogues of the most important of the UK’s petroleum reservoir rocks.
  • Compare and contrast sandstone reservoir at outcrop varying in age from the Middle Devonian through to the Cretaceous.
  • Compare and contrast carbonate reservoir at outcrop varying in age from the Lower Carboniferous through to the Upper Cretaceous.
  • Give students the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge that they have gained in previous modules on the MSc (ENVS600, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, and 606).
  • Allow students to compare rocks observed at outcrop with indirect (seismic and wireline) data from equivalent reservoir rocks that contain petroleum in the UK’s oil and gas fields.
  • Allow students to compare rocks observed at outcrop with direct core (petrographic, core analysis) data from equivalent reservoir rocks that contain petroleum in the UK’s oil and gas fields.
  • Allow students to observe core material in a core store to advance the review of the UK’s reservoir rocks.
  • Allow students to compare core material to indirect (wireline) and direct (core analysis and petrographic) data from oil and gas fields

At the end of this module you should have:

  • A critical appreciation of the outcrop characteristics and expression of the petroleum reservoirs that are important in the UK, NW Europe and beyond.
  • Direct experience of working with sandstone and carbonate outcrops that, in the deep subsurface, hold oil and gas in the UK and NW Europe.
  • Direct experience of the appearance of reservoir rocks normally studied using remote (seismic) data and/or boreholes.
  • Direct experience of what rocks, responsible for wireline signals, actually look like at outcrop.
  • Direct experience of bed forms and diagenetic features that control porosity and permeability in reservoir rocks at outcrop.
  • A critical appreciation of the scale of reservoir flow units (as controlled by depositional and diagenetic features) as used in reservoir models.
  • The ability to evaluate and interpret rocks at outcrop and relate observations made about them to subsurface datasets.
  • The ability to relate subsurface datasets (seismic, wireline, core descriptions, core analysis and thin section images and data) to what rocks actually look like at outcrop as viewed in three dimensions.

Petroleum Reservoir Geoscience Research Project (ENVS608)

Level M
Credit level: 60

This module will be taught from the start of semester 2 and run through the entire summer, ending in early to mid-September. The module is wholly assessed with course work (exam-coursework weighting 0:100).

The aims of this dissertation module are to:

  • Train students, via initial lectures and personal practice, in professional scientific report or journal style writing.
  • Train students, via initial lectures and personal practice, in formulating, presenting and defending a professional research proposal.
  • Train students, via personal practice under academic supervision, in the execution and presentation of professional-level research in petroleum reservoir geosciences.

At the end of this module you should have:

  • An understanding of the principles and guidelines under which professional level petroleum-related research is pursued and communicated.
  • An understanding of how to formulate a research project and write a formal research proposal, including a summary for a non-specialist audience.
  • Gained a leading-edge understanding of a specific research area in petroleum reservoir geosciences.
  • Gained experience in practical skills pertinent to the research project selected.
  • Understanding of the function of different modes of scientific communication involved in the effective execution of petroleum reservoir geosciences; including formal talks, posters and professional-quality reports.

Reservoir Fluids and Reservoir Modelling (ENVS606)

Level M
Credit level: 15

This module will be taught in Semester 2. The module is assessed with course work and exams (exam-coursework weighting 60:40)

The aims of this dissertation module are to:

  • Provide the basic physical and chemical aspects of petroleum reservoir fluids (oil, water, petroleum gas, CO2 H 2 S, Inert gases) including fluid behaviour and composition.
  • Provide practical experience in the methods of fluid compositional analysis and the determination of hydrocarbon vapor-liquid equilibria and equations-of-state (EOS) models.
  • Use state-of-the-art fluid flow simulation models such as PETREL to evaluate fluid behavior in reservoir.
  • To history match well test data to the results of fluid flow simulation models (i.e. compare the behavior of a well on test or production over time in comparison to the results of a fluid flow simulation).